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Northeast Vietnam


Dominated by the Red River basin and the sea, the fertile northeast is the cradle of Viet­namese civilisation. Much of Vietnamese history (and not all of it happy) was made here. Vietnam has had less than cordial relations with the Chinese, who invaded in the 2nd century BC and stuck around for about 1000 years. They were finally vanquished in the 10th century.

Any time the Chinese wanted to interfere in Vietnam’s affairs, it was through the northeast that they approached. The last time was in 1979 to punish the Vietnamese for invading Cambodia.

As well as invasions, this region has also witnessed an exodus during the late 1970s and early 1980s, as thousands of ethnic-Chinese and later thousands more Vietnamese took to the mountains or the seas to search for a better life in China, Hong Kong and beyond.